Hubert Burda Media


Icelandic singer BJÖRK is the subject of a full-scale retrospective in New York this month. We get a sneak preview

NEW YORK’S Museum of Modern Art (Moma) is constantly pushing boundaries. Always a home for experimental, innovative artists, it started a collection of video art as long ago as 1935 and also championed performance art long before it was fashionable. And now, this month, Moma is once again defying convention by becoming one of the first museums to hold a full-scale retrospective of the work of a musician, in this case the multifaceted, genre-bending Icelandic dynamo Björk.

The eponymous exhibition includes costumes, instruments, films and songs from Björk’s seven full-length albums, as well as showcasing the singer’s work with video directors, photographers and fashion designers. Klaus Biesenbach, Moma’s chief curator at large, first approached Björk with the ambitious idea in 2000, though she didn’t agree to it until 2012.

As you would expect from a retrospective honouring the eccentric singer, the exhibition is far from straightforward. Only 100 visitors are admitted at a time and each has to wear a pair of location-activated headphones that automatically play the songs that are most relevant to the surrounding exhibits. The exhibition ends with what is being billed as a brand-new “immersive music and film experience”, which is a collaborative project between Björk, film-maker Andrew Thomas Huang and 3-D design company Autodesk. This may all sound particularly complex, but no one would have expected any less from a partnership between the quirky star and the pioneering museum.

Björk is on show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York from March 8 to June 7